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Working to digitize and preserve Native American history

Working to digitize and preserve Native American history
Posted at 7:11 PM, Apr 26, 2024

HELENA — The Montana Historical Society is partnering with the Helena Indian Allianceto help preserve Native American history.

“It's just important to have Montana history within our own voices, the people of Montana, especially Native American people because history usually isn't told by our side of the story, so it's good to just have our voices in there,” says Quincy Bjornberg with Cultural Outreach with Helena Indian Alliance.

Photos, documents, and newspaper clippings can help create a tapestry of family history. But those physical copies are as susceptible to time as the people in them. But with the help of technology, copies of these family treasures can be captured to live on in perpetuity without the fear of wear and tear.

“I mean, I've run into tons of people who have said, ohh I lost all my pictures in a fire or a flood or something like that, so, having it in a digital form just keeps that memory and lasts it for longer,” says Bjornberg.

On Saturday, April 27, from 10 AM to noon, the Montana Historical Society will scan important cultural, family, and community photos, documents, letters, posters, and other related items in the gym at the Helena Indian Alliance.

This free event is for families to preserve their history. Participants will be asked for background information on each item. After digitizing the item, participants will receive their original copies and the digital copy. Montana Historical Society will also add these digitized items to the Montana History Portal, but participants can choose not to have them added to the library.

Martha Kohl, Program Manager of Outreach and Education with Montana Historical Society, says this is a great opportunity for families to share their stories and ensure that history is not lost to time.

“If you want your story told from your point of view then you need to be the teller. And if you want it preserved for future generations then you need to help preserve it,” says Kohl.

Organizers ask that participants bring no more than 10 items. The event will also provide food.